CARIBOU – On New Year’s Day, most town and city officials across the country will take a well-deserved day off from their hectic daily duties to rest or recuperate from the previous evening’s celebration of the new millennium.
Not so in the city of Caribou.
The City Council is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. Jan. 1 for its annual reorganizational meeting.
“It’s not normal, but it is required by our charter to meet on the first Monday of the new year,” City Manager Richard Mattila said Friday. “In some years, the reorganization meeting is pushed ahead, but this year’s City Council decided to hold the meeting on the required day.
“The charter is quite specific,” Mattila continued. “When the charter was made, no one thought of Monday being the first day of the year, I guess.”
Mayor Philip Bennett Jr. will be sworn in for another term on the council. He is the longest standing city councilor in memory, Mattila said. Bennett was first elected to the Caribou City Council in 1980.
Along with his 20 years on the council, Bennett was deputy mayor in 1983 and 1984. He was elected mayor in 1985, 1986, 1998 and 1999.
He could be elected to another term during Monday’s reorganizational meeting.
“He certainly has the experience,” Mattila said. “I haven’t heard of any undertow, or any others seeking the position.
“He’s been here the longest,” the city manager said. “The councilors certainly don’t do it for money because they only get $800 per year.
“They must do it for love of community,” he said.
Sandra Huck and Wilfred Martin also will be sworn in as city councilors during Monday’s session.
Election of a mayor, deputy mayor and secretary of the City Council for 2001 will be the first three orders of the day. The council also will name department heads and make other appointments that night.
Among their 17 agenda articles is the consideration of a resolution to Maine Department of Transportation Commissioner John Melrose seeking state assistance in the rebuilding of Caribou’s High Street in the next biennium.
Mattila said High Street is a highly used street that is in dire need of catch basins, storm drains and culverts. High traffic by heavy trucks has caused considerable deterioration over the years.
Mattila said the city has attempted to fix and cover deep ruts made by heavy trucks, but the time has come to renovate the street. “We are looking for state assistance to do the work that must be done on the roadway,” Mattila said. “It has become an eyesore and a bad road.”